SPER’s Executive Committee is comprised of eight officers and includes a President, a President-Elect, an Immediate Past-President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and four Members-at-Large, a Student Representative, and an International Representative. The 2019 Elections will include voting for the following positions:
- Student Representative
2019 Members of SPER are entitled to one vote per category. Learn more about the candidates below.
Voting will conclude on April 19th.
Danelle T. Lobdell, PhD, MS
Environmental Health Scientist – Epidemiologist
Office of Research and Development
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
With great honor and enthusiasm, I accept the nomination for president to SPER.
I am an epidemiologist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the Office of Research and Development. I received my M.S. in Natural Sciences and Ph.D. in Epidemiology and Community Medicine from the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. My current research involves the development of environmental public health indicators, especially in the areas of reproductive, perinatal and children’s environmental health. I also have several research projects funded through the Regional Applied Research Effort (RARE) that focus on the U.S. EPA’s Regional research needs for communities, which include research efforts focused on child health. Read more
I first became involved with SPER just after I completed my Masters’ degree in 1995. My first ever submitted abstract was selected for an oral presentation. I remember how scared I was to present at that very first meeting, but that initial experience fueled my confidence for subsequent presentations in front of reproductive and perinatal professionals as I acquired my doctorate. My doctoral work culminated in the SPER Student Prize Paper Award in 2002. I guess you can say that I have been “growing up” in the reproductive/perinatal field through participation at SPER events! I served as Treasurer for SPER for the periods 2008-2011, 2011-2014 and 2016-2017.
As president, I want to continue to foster the same type of experience I had as a student and post-doctoral fellow just starting out in SPER. I want SPER to continue to be a Society of choice throughout one’s entire career. I will continue efforts from past presidents in developing mentorship opportunities, both for those who need mentors, as well as an opportunity for those “growing up” in the Society to experience being a mentor. I also want to explore how we can maintain membership throughout one’s career. In other words: What can SPER as a society provide to membership at different points in one’s career?
Lauren A. Wise, Sc.D.
Professor of Epidemiology
Boston University School of Public Health
Lauren A. Wise, MSc, ScD. I am honored to be nominated as President-Elect of the Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research (SPER). I have been an active member of SPER since 2008. A reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist by training, I received my doctorate in Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2004. Since 2015, I have been Professor of Epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH).
My research involves the study of environmental and genetic determinants of benign gynecologic disorders, subfertility, and adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes. I am currently Principal Investigator of Pregnancy Study Online (PRESTO), a NICHD-funded North American preconception cohort study in which recruitment and follow-up occur via the internet (http://presto.bu.edu). Read more
I believe that there is no better profession in the world than epidemiology and no greater opportunity to make a difference in population health by investing in pediatric and perinatal research. This is a challenging but exciting time to be a perinatal and pediatric epidemiologist. Fertility rates are at an all-time low, rates of maternal obesity and gestation diabetes are at all-time highs, and little has changed in the incidence of preterm birth despite decades of research in this area. If elected, I would work hard to promote the conduct and dissemination of high-quality pediatric and perinatal epidemiologic research. I would strive to increase SPER membership; listen to our members’ ideas for improving the organization; foster greater communication and collaboration among our members; and support the mentorship of students, post-doctoral fellows, and junior faculty in the field. I would make every effort to continue the legacy of the Executive Committee and Members-at-Large, nurturing the positive changes they have worked hard to implement. It would be an honor and a privilege to serve SPER and give back to a profession that I value greatly.
Sarah Keim, PhD
Associate Professor, Division of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, The Ohio State University and Principal Investigator, Center for Biobehavioral Health, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital
I am delighted to be considered for the role of Secretary of SPER. In my mind, SPER stands out from other societies in public health in several ways. One is our focus on particular populations rather than a single disease. This gives the society a strong anchor – it all comes back to what we collectively do to improve reproductive, pregnancy and pediatric health locally, nationally, and globally. This also gives us incredible breadth – making our membership, and our annual meeting, incredibly diverse and rich in terms of the scope of research being pursued. Another special characteristic of SPER that stands out is its size. The society is large enough to support a high-quality annual conference and ongoing activities throughout the year but remains welcoming to trainees and new members who are building professional networks and looking for a society “home.” Read more
I have been impressed with the continued forward momentum driven by the SPER Executive Committee in recent years. It seems that experimenting with slightly different meeting formats and enhanced use of social media, while still maintaining important and meaningful traditions like our awards and the advanced methods workshop, will serve to engage long-standing members as well as attract trainees and others to our organization. Many of these initiatives were based on feedback from the membership, and I plan to take part in ongoing efforts on the Executive Committee to gather such feedback in the coming years as well. One long-standing area of focus for SPER leadership has been to expand and diversify the society’s membership. While we are a strong medium-size organization, it is important that we continue to build our membership. I believe I can bring some helpful perspectives to these efforts. As a faculty member who works primarily in an academic children’s hospital, I can put myself in the shoes of clinician-scientists in terms of what would attract and retain them as members of SPER. I also mentor many trainees from the undergraduate through post-doctoral and junior faculty levels, and so I will always have their interests in mind when considering new initiatives for the society.
My career as an epidemiologist began at in 1999 at the U.S. National Institutes of Health as a fellow in the Presidential Management Intern Program. I transitioned to a permanent position at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for 2001-2010. After completing my PhD in Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009, I moved to academia as an Assistant Professor at Ohio State and Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, USA. My research interests primarily relate to early life nutritional influences (including breastfeeding) on child outcomes like development and growth. I currently serve as an Associate Editor of the journal Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology.
I have been a member of SPER since 2006. As SPER has given me so many opportunities to network, to learn about cutting edge research from around the world, and to be introduced to the latest in epidemiologic methods, I hope you will grant me the opportunity to give back to SPER through service in the role of Secretary.
Erinn M. Hade, PhD
Departments of Biomedical Informatics and Obstetrics & Gynecology
The Ohio State University
I would be honored and excited to serve as SPER Member-at-large. While my primary training is in biostatistics, having received my MS degree in biostatistics from the University of Washington and PhD from The Ohio State University, research and applications in perinatal and pediatric health have been a long standing focus. Prior to graduate training I had the opportunity to investigate the accuracy of birth records and to work with researchers from the Fragile Families & Child Wellbeing Study. Read more
Currently I am an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Biomedical Informatics and Obstetrics & Gynecology and Program leader for Population studies in the Center for Biostatistics, at The Ohio State University (OSU). At OSU, I co-lead a maternal and child health research group, which brings together faculty, staff scientists and students with expertise in epidemiology, biostatistics, research and design methods. My research centers around development and evaluation of methods for study design and inference of observational and randomized trials focused on evaluating effectiveness of interventions as well as in methods for use of administrative data sources in maternal and child health.
Over the past several years, I’ve been an active SPER member as an abstract reviewer, poster presenter, poster judge, and this year, serving on the 2019 Program Committee! The annual meeting has provided me numerous opportunities to engage with new colleagues and to be exposed to the leading developments in the field. As Member-at-large, I am eager to work with the Executive committee towards expanding membership and contact with current SPER members, developing opportunities for students, junior, and senior researchers, and in continued success of SPER!
Anne Marie Jukic, PhD
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
I have been a member of SPER for over a decade and consider it to be my scientific home. I appreciate the passionate people who also attend year after year to help keep SPER at the forefront of perinatal research. I was the recipient of the SPER Rising Star Award in 2016 and each year since then I have had the honor of reviewing the impressive applications of other award candidates. I currently serve on the SPER program committee and as the liaison from SER to SPER. I enjoy supporting this organization that I have spent years learning from. It is a pleasure to work with SPER members. Read more
Each year SPER draws experts from around the world into one room to share ideas, promote collaborations, and discuss the challenges in our field. Each year SPER revitalizes and rejuvenates me. I would be honored to serve the SPER community as a member at large.
My research focuses on environmental and nutritional influences on fertility and early pregnancy. I enjoy learning new methods, and challenging the old ones, with the ultimate goal of improving research for the benefit of women, couples and families. My recent focus on vitamin D status and reproduction is a great example of this, employing traditional longitudinal methods, but also including a Bayesian analysis of missing data, and culminating in my developing interest in clinical trial methodology and implementation.
I have been incredibly fortunate in my training – learning from faculty members at Emory University and the University of North Carolina, at the NICHD/CIHR Summer Institute in Reproductive and Perinatal Epidemiology, and at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Mentoring has been so important for my career and I recognize that this is also an important facet of SPER. As a member at large for SPER I would like to continue and expand the opportunities for mentorship both for students and also for junior faculty. As a Twitter user (@AnneMarieJukic) I would be excited to support the online presence of SPER, where discussions can continue beyond the meeting itself and further engage international partners. Finally, as consortia and multi-site studies become ever more appealing, SPER will be crucial for connecting colleagues with common research interests and complimentary skills.
SPER has been a fundamental part of my development as a reproductive epidemiologist and I would welcome the opportunity to give back to this organization.
Wei Perng, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology
Assistant Director, Life Course Epidemiology of Adiposity and Diabetes (LEAD) Center
Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences
University of Michigan School of Public Heatlh
I received my MPH in Epidemiology in 2010, followed by my PhD in Epidemiology in 2013 at the University of Michigan School of Public Health (UMSPH). Following a 1-year postdoc with Dr. Emily Oken’s research group at Harvard Medical School and second, shorter postdoc under the tutelage of Dr. Claudia Holzman at Michigan State University via Dr. Nigel Paneth’s T-32 Perinatal Epidemiology training program, I took a research faculty position in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at UMSPH in 2015. As of January 2018, I am an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health where I not only focus on my research, which revolves around developmental origins of obesity-related disease, but am also committed to the courses I teach and to training the next generation of life course and perinatal epidemiologists through my role as Assistant Director of the Life Course Epidemiology of Adiposity and Diabetes (LEAD) Center. Read more
Since joining as a student member in 2010, SPER has been a rich source of professional insight and collaboration, and a friendly venue within which to present my findings. I have enjoyed reviewing abstracts, presenting my work, and networking with peers and mentors at the collegiate annual meetings. Now, I am seeking the opportunity to become more actively involved. It would be an honor and privilege to coordinate SPER elections as Member-at-Large.
Student Representative Candidates
Krystin Matthews, MPH
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
School of Public Health
Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences
I would be honored to serve as Student Representative and actively contribute to the SPER community. As Student Representative I will prioritize engaging students by being active on social media. For example, promoting Twitter take-overs by our members to increase visibility of their research while highlighting opportunities for student involvement. Also, I have several ideas for methods workshops, such as applications of agent based modeling, causal inference with longitudinal data, and use of EHRs for research. I will be accessible and open to feedback from the community.
I am working on my PhD in epidemiology at The University of Texas Health Sciences Center, School of Public Health, where my dissertation focuses on nutrition and growth in infants and toddlers who participate in WIC. I recently accepted a student position at The UT System, supporting a project that aims to understand and address inequities in prenatal care access and birth outcomes. I have an MPH from the University of Southern California, and a BA in Human Development from the University of California, San Diego. I appreciate your time and consideration of my nomination for Student Representative.
Krista Wollny RN, MN
PhD Student, Epidemiology
Community Health Sciences
University of Calgary
I am thrilled to be one of the candidates for the role of student representative for SPER for the upcoming year! My goal as the student representative would be to increase student engagement in SPER through collaborations and connections – not only at the yearly meeting, but throughout the entire year.
I am a PhD student in Epidemiology at the University of Calgary, Community Health Sciences. I am a pediatric and neonatal research nurse by background, and I am currently studying variables associated with increased patient risk in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, with the help of my supervisors: Dr. Amy Metcalfe and Dr. Deb McNeil. I have worked on a number of perinatal and pediatric studies over the course of my career as a nurse, masters student, and now PhD student. At SPER 2018, I presented a systematic review on the effects of general vs neuraxial anaesthesia on neonatal outcomes after c-section, and was inspired by the other research and researchers I encountered. Read more
As part of my aim to increase student engagement in SPER, I would first reach out to the student members to determine what learning opportunities they are interested in, such as lunch-and-learn webinars, or student-specific workshops at the annual meeting. Topics such as writing a successful grant, work-life-balance during graduate school, specific epidemiological methods, or knowledge translation in clinical research would provide additional skills for our student members to develop successful careers outside of their educational programs. I would also be interested in starting a SPER online “blog” as a way for student members to communicate their research, stay in touch throughout the year, and find out about upcoming SPER events to increase student engagement. If elected, I will be the voice of our student members at the Executive Committee meetings, help to plan the Advanced Methods Workshop, and most importantly – encourage engagement in SPER amongst the student members throughout the year.